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Pittsburgh Public Schools optimistic about reducing student suspensions

Leaders in Pittsburgh Public Schools are hopeful that a newly-released, long-awaited study of a new strategy aimed at reducing student suspensions in the district could be an asset for others across the country.

The two-year, federally funded study released last week by the RAND Corporation showed that the use of “restorative practices,” a proactive strategy being adopted by schools across the nation and that focuses on improving school culture and building relationships rather than pushing students out of the classroom, had a positive effect on student suspension rates and the disparity between black and white students. 

The report marks one of the first comprehensive studies of restorative practices. Pittsburgh district leaders and proponents of the change said the results have national significance, and that they hope it can be a “roadmap” for other urban schools.

“It’s really validating to see the outcome data associated with this work,” said Christine Cray, Pittsburgh Public Schools’ director of student services reforms.

Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Pittsburgh Public Schools optimistic about reducing student suspensions